One of the largest ever grants awarded by the US Department of Agriculture has been made to improve poultry production.
Just under $ 10m will be made available to researchers to find ways of improving nutrition and water use in the poultry sector.
Cornell University and the University of Arkansas will co-lead the 5-year project.
One of the projects will involve exploring how microalgae might be used as an alternative protein.
“What we want to do in this case is use microalgae to replace soybeans – this will reduce the competition between feed and food,” Xingen Lei, a co-principle investigator in the project said. “Also, microalgae capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and this will make production greener.”
Through microalgae, researchers can introduce enzymes that favour unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D, he added.
Another strand of the research will explore potential biological benefits for humans who eat bioenhanced poultry.
Researchers at the University of Arkansas will be developing ways to improve chickens’ gut health and resistance to disease, in addition to exploring how the industry can use water more efficiently.
Another project will look at ways to process poultry manure and other waste to produce energy in the form of biogas, bio-oil, electricity and biochar.
Of the total funding, $ 1 million will go toward teaching and another $ 1 million toward extension. Minority representation in poultry science will be an important focus, researchers said.
Also interesting: Poultry World hosted a webinar on Nutrition and Health – where renowned experts shared their knowledge on phytogenics, probiotics and butyric acid. If you missed it click below to view it on demand.